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Interest in a Bricklink missing/spare pieces bulk buy?

plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950
edited July 2015 in Buying & Selling Topics
I'm sure you all have sets sitting around that are missing one or two pieces no longer available on Lego's spare pieces system. You've found those pieces on Bricklink, but they cost 10p and the min. buy is £10, and shipping would be £5, etc, and you thought it wasn't worth it.

I was just helping my brother find the pieces for a second-hand Technics motorbike he was given by his school's Mindstorms club. All the missing/substituted pieces could be found on Lego's customer service site, except for the fuel tank cover, a printed piece which is 'out of stock'. On Bricklink it's pretty cheap, but almost all the shops have a min. buy price or silly shipping.

So, that brings me to my main point. Are there enough of us out there to club together, make a list of all the one or two spare pieces we each want to buy and get them in one lot? Someone more experienced in Bricklink could work to get the best price (aren't there some programs for optimising your basket?) and then distribute them out by mail (everyone could pay an tiny bit extra to cover the cost of an envelope and stamps).

What do people think? If enough people are interested to make this serious, I'll start a new thread where you can actually list the parts you need.

(Of course, if there's a really obvious way to get those frustrating pieces that I've just completely missed, let me know...)

Comments

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,313
    Finding a store to get everyone's missing parts is probably going to be very time consuming and expensive.

    One thing you can do is try asking a seller if they will override their minimum if it is for just one part. They might well charge you a bit extra to cover their PayPal, packaging and / or processing costs, but often they will allow it to get a sale - especially at this time of year when sales become rather slow.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    You can also check BrickOwl and eBay :)
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950
    Aleydita said:
    You can also check BrickOwl and eBay :)
    Totally forgotten Brickowl! And I suspected I would be unlikely to find individual pieces on eBay - is that assumption wrong?
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950

    CCC said:
    Finding a store to get everyone's missing parts is probably going to be very time consuming and expensive.
    This is actually quite helpful, as I don't use Bricklink, so I don't really know the ins-and-outs. I know the basics of how it works, but that's not really enough. Input from more experienced members is appreciated!
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,481
    @plasmodium - do a dummy run to see how much of a hassle it will be, imagine you have ten people who all want one part, pick 10 sets at random from the database and pick 10 random parts (but look for the stuff that people are unlikely to have - e.g exclude 2x2 bricks etc) then go on brick link and see how long it takes you to find all those parts in one store - my guess is you'll give up before you manage to find a store with at least half, I know I personally wouldn't bother doing that level of leg work.

    After that remember you have to agree the price per person, additional postage to get the parts from you to the other people...it's a bit of a nightmare in my opinion.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,313
    It's even worse if someone gets something that is damaged / scratched etc - who is to blame, the seller or the coordinator.

    Most sellers on BL are fairly sensible. Contact them if you do just want one part and see if they'll make an exception. If not, they don't get a sale.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    Aleydita said:
    You can also check BrickOwl and eBay :)
    Totally forgotten Brickowl! And I suspected I would be unlikely to find individual pieces on eBay - is that assumption wrong?

    There are a handful of sellers who sell 'spares' individually on eBay. It's less likely if it's a rare part I suppose but no harm in checking. BrickOwl isn't as big as BL but many sellers are only selling on BO these days so it's definitely worth having a look.

  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    @plasmodium , what parts are you wanting to get?
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950
    @Pitfall69Specifically, this: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=47844pb03
    Only in one set. Even the unprinted red one is only in one set. If I had the time I would go through a number of my other sets I know are missing pieces and put together my own order, but you know how it is...
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    There's a dark red alternative that might not look so out of place.
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    Perhaps we could start a start a thread here to locate that one missing piece that you don't want to place a Bricklink order for.  
    drdavewatford
  • deephorsedeephorse West Yorkshire, U.K.Member Posts: 83

    @plasmodium

    The very first Brick Link store I see in a search for your part sells it at 10p and has no minimum buy.  In this instance I don't see what your problem is.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    deephorse said:

    @plasmodium

    The very first Brick Link store I see in a search for your part sells it at 10p and has no minimum buy.  In this instance I don't see what your problem is.

     A seller's been reading this thread perhaps? :)
  • CalvCalv Central EnglandMember Posts: 900
    That one at 10p is in Denmark so postage may be expensive. There is also a UK seller with a new one for 30p and no minimum order. The postage is at cost (95p) + 50p shipping - I don't think you will get a better deal than that!

    Link here:

    http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=bighippo&itemID=71670971   

    I run a Bricklink store but think the idea of a bulk order would be introducing unneccessary complications. We can help you get underway with Bricklink.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950
    deephorse said:

    @plasmodium

    The very first Brick Link store I see in a search for your part sells it at 10p and has no minimum buy.  In this instance I don't see what your problem is.
    Yes, I don't think that listing was there first time I looked! But as @Calv says, shopping is fairly prohibitive. Perhaps when it comes down to it, it is worth finding some more bricks that I need and trying to buy them all at once to save on shipping.

    I think the thing I knew least about Bricklink was how likely any individual shop is to have every piece one needs. From your responses, it seems this is unlikely, and it also send like this is the biggest barrier to the feasibility of the group buy (as it would put postage etc up to the same amount as if everyone just bought their one piece each).
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,481
    The biggest thing is that if most people are looking for only one or two parts they tend to be very specific/hard to find parts.

    What I tend to do when I'm after something on brick link is check a few of the stores that have the specific part I want then see what else they have in the way of other parts that I like, particularly for me Minifigures/fleshie parts, moulded animals, and some specific colours that I like building with, then order from the one that will give me the best value for what they have available.
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu AustraliaMember Posts: 2,318
    edited July 2015
    @Aleydita, thanks for mentioning Brick Owl, hadn't heard of it before, I checked it out & managed to get all bar one part I needed (fortunately the other part is cheap & easy to find on BrickLink) to make some Micro Tardises I came across on Flickr. :)
    xiahna
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    Surely being that we are all Lego nuts we find it pretty easy to meet minimum order amounts? If I'm looking for a hard to find part I'll happily spend $10-$20 on other items.
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu AustraliaMember Posts: 2,318
    @Basta, I know personally, some sellers have only had one or two parts I have been after, they've had quite literally nothing else on my wanted lists. One seller had in AU $50+ minimum buy, even buying all of the part I was after that they had in stock I would have $3 total in purchases... Plus people do have bills to deal with from time to time, if they all hit the same week, you just can't afford the extra unnecessary purchases...
    xiahna
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,950
    Basta said:
    Surely being that we are all Lego nuts we find it pretty easy to meet minimum order amounts? If I'm looking for a hard to find part I'll happily spend $10-$20 on other items.
    Oh, sure I could find £10 worth of bricks I want. It's a matter of whether I should or not. ;-)
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    @VorpalRyu, no worries :) I'm a real evangelist when it comes to BrickOwl - straight forward, up-front pricing as it should be. Almost every EU Bricklink store is breaking the law, requiring you to commit to purchase before being given a total price.
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu AustraliaMember Posts: 2,318
    @Aleydita, part of what made me hesitant at first about purchasing through BrickLink, but if I suspect a store could be dodgy, I tend to ask for a quote, if they don't respond, I go elsewhere. Both have their merits, but I could see Brick Owl eventually rivaling, if overtaking BrickLink, given the ease of use.
    xiahna
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,305
    I love Brick Owl, I just wish that there were more sellers on it.  I'd buy more often.  I've only purchased once from Bricklink, though I've put in for two more this week, and I've yet to get an invoice yet from one seller.  It's just a clunky process.
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,676
    I used to have a store on BrickOwl, but I stopped it as shipping calculation was inaccurate and either the buyer was overcharged for S&H by a few dollars or was undercharged by $10-15. At least on Bricklink I can charge exactly what it is costing me.

    Either on BrickLink or BrickOwl a good experience is more about the seller behind the store than the website. I had orders on BrickOwl that were paid right away but waited 3+ weeks for shipping, nothing I could do... On BrickLink I had an order not invoiced after a week, cancelled the order and went somewhere else.

    The BrickLink quote system makes it also easier for a the buyer to know charges upfront and as a seller I also do not mind estimating S&H on actual order (before getting it ready) and cancelling if the buyer consider it to high.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,313
    Aleydita said:
    @VorpalRyu, no worries :) I'm a real evangelist when it comes to BrickOwl - straight forward, up-front pricing as it should be. Almost every EU Bricklink store is breaking the law, requiring you to commit to purchase before being given a total price.
    I don't think that is true, for two reasons.

    1) many EU stores do tell you postage prices (for most common sized orders) and

    2) many EU stores allow you to cancel if postage is higher than you expected. Bricklink may say it is a binding contract but that is out of the sellers hands. Of course the seller also has a right to leave feedback even if you don't go ahead with the transaction, and BL also has the right to ban you if you place many orders and cancel them.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    edited July 2015
    CCC said:
    Aleydita said:
    @VorpalRyu, no worries :) I'm a real evangelist when it comes to BrickOwl - straight forward, up-front pricing as it should be. Almost every EU Bricklink store is breaking the law, requiring you to commit to purchase before being given a total price.
    I don't think that is true, for two reasons.

    1) many EU stores do tell you postage prices (for most common sized orders) and

    2) many EU stores allow you to cancel if postage is higher than you expected. Bricklink may say it is a binding contract but that is out of the sellers hands. Of course the seller also has a right to leave feedback even if you don't go ahead with the transaction, and BL also has the right to ban you if you place many orders and cancel them.


    It is true; a store has an obligation to present a total cost including all fees and charges before asking a customer to commit - it is a requirement EU-wide as of June 2014. It isn't voluntary. There are other obligations such as telling a customer of their right to return items for whatever reason within 14 days, which must be notified before and also after the sale (Brick Owl also fails in this regard). In some EU countries the seller would even be responsible for the cost of return postage unless they specifically state otherwise prior to accepting the order. I have yet to see either of these mentioned on BL. I'm not sure of the legality of punishing a customer with negative feedback simply because they asserted their consumer rights.

    I can't remember if, as a buyer, BL requires you to actively tick a box to confirm agreement to all terms and conditions, but this is also an obligation in the EU - failure to do this makes the store's terms and conditions legally unenforceable (again, Brick Owl also fails in this regard). Some countries actually require that the terms and conditions be presented in their national language, or again they become unenforceable (France is one but not the only one).

    Some BL stores also break the law by charging extra when buyers pay by PayPal. The law allows a retailer to charge more when a customer chooses to use a particular payment method but only if the extra amount represents the actual extra cost of making that payment method available. The extra charges don't always reflect a fair amount in my opinion.

    My main BL bugbear though, and this applies to some BO stores also, is that most say "if you don't pay for insurance then we're not responsible if the package doesn't arrive." Er, yeah, under EU law the seller is definitely responsible, unless they themselves are a private individual rather than a business (including a sole trader); unless - and this would be a rare exception - the buyer arranges the shipping themselves.

    The main reason I prefer BO over BL is that it puts the customer first. BL seems to be set up to make life as easy as possible for sellers despite some aspects of this actually making life much worse for buyers. For example, the listings pages are pretty worthless as far as price comparison goes, you have to click through to each and every store to check minimum buys, postage, extra charges, PayPal fees, etc. Some stores provide essays for terms and conditions; BL makes finding the cheapest deal very hard work indeed.

    I understand completely why BL has evolved this way - without sellers there would be no buyers. But it has created a bubble within which all participants are expected to adhere to certain customs and practices, many of which give scant regard to the actual law. BO isn't perfect but it has tried to reverse some of this - and it should go further.

  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    edited July 2015
    I used to have a store on BrickOwl, but I stopped it as shipping calculation was inaccurate and either the buyer was overcharged for S&H by a few dollars or was undercharged by $10-15. At least on Bricklink I can charge exactly what it is costing me.

    The BrickLink quote system makes it also easier for a the buyer to know charges upfront and as a seller I also do not mind estimating S&H on actual order (before getting it ready) and cancelling if the buyer consider it to high.

    The BO shipping thingy works fine in my experience. If shipping ends up costing you more than the system charged then either you didn't allow enough tolerance in your shipping measurements for packaging, or one of the items ordered has no measurements in the database and the system has under-estimated the measurements. As a seller you are responsible for the former and can help sort out the latter (there's a link of all items without measurements/weights on your dashboard).

    I'm not sure how you can say the BL quote system makes it easier up front - it's exactly the opposite - the buyer only finds out the actual total charge after committing to buy. Of course there's nothing stopping a buyer from messaging a seller in advance of committing, but the equivalent system on BO works with the shopping cart system and both buyer/seller can see exactly what they intend to order. After receiving the quote the buyer can proceed or pull out and at no stage have they committed to buy.

  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,676
    edited July 2015
    @Aleydita I think shipping problem with US store is due to how shipping works here, after a certain weight, it goes to volume+weight. Also how can BrickOwl knows what size boxes I have at the time or if I am being ask to shipped deboxed.
    Allowing too much tolerance means over charging the buyer, something I don't like as a buyer myself (my exact problem was with selling empty LEGO boxes, as there are light, but requires a large box for them, 3x the weight of the original item)

    The quote system in BrickLink is non binding, you use it instead of a check-out (not every store has enabled it). If you like the quote you receive, it creates the order from the quote.
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu AustraliaMember Posts: 2,318
    @ColoradoBricks, unfortunately even sellers that have the quote system can ignore it, I had one that had no shipping charges up, so I requested a quote, I instead received an invoice... According to BrickLink, what are my options in that situation? Pay the invoice, or risk a mark against my name... Neither is a perfect system, but BrickLink is slanted in favour of the sellers quite considerably, which works against it... Just as buyers need sellers, sellers also need the buyers.
    xiahna
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,676
    @VorpalRyo , you can't sent an invoice from a quote, there is not even a transaction created or way to leave feedback on a quote. 

    I am talking about the quote system from BrickLink, not selecting "Quote" as a shipping option. Try it on my store if you want :)
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 947
    @Aleydita I think shipping problem with US store is due to how shipping works here, after a certain weight, it goes to volume+weight. Also how can BrickOwl knows what size boxes I have at the time or if I am being ask to shipped deboxed.
    Allowing too much tolerance means over charging the buyer, something I don't like as a buyer myself (my exact problem was with selling empty LEGO boxes, as there are light, but requires a large box for them, 3x the weight of the original item)

    The quote system in BrickLink is non binding, you use it instead of a check-out (not every store has enabled it). If you like the quote you receive, it creates the order from the quote.

    I imagine most sellers have a static range of boxes and can thus set up their shipping methods accordingly. For the items you know are over-sized and require bespoke shipping - like empty Lego boxes - you can 'force quote' on them to give you the chance to check the shipping cost.
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,676
    ^ They may have added new options, I created my store more than 2 years ago (was an early adopter) but closed it because of the shipping issues and the lack of support at that time.
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